Sicily, the “Four Corners” of that little ancient world that was bounded on the west by the Pillars of Hercules, is to southern Europe what Britain is to northern Europe, Chief of Isles, universal Cross-roads. Sicily lies nearer both to Africa and to Europe than any other Mediterranean island, and is the true connecting link between East and West. Battle-ground of contending races and creeds, it has been soaked over and over again in the blood of the strong men who fought each other for its possession. There has never been a Sicilian nation. Perhaps that is the reason the story of the island is so hard to follow, it’s all snarled up with the history of first one, then another nation. The most obvious way of learning something about Sicily is to read what historians have to say about it; a pleasanter way is to listen to what the poets from Homer to Goethe have sung of it, paying special heed to Theocritus—he knew Sicily better than anybody else before his time or since! Then there’s the geologis{viii}t’s story—you can’t spare that; it’s the key to all the rest. The best way of all is to go to Sicily, and there fit together what little bits of knowledge you have or can lay your hands upon,—scraps of history, poetry, geology. You will be surprised how well the different parts of the picture-puzzle, now knocking about loose in your mind, will fit together, and what a good picture, once put together, they will give you of Sicily.

When a child in the nursery, you learned the story of the earliest time! How Kronos threw down his scythe, and it sank into the earth and made the harbor of Messina. (The geologists hint that the wonderful round, land-locked harbor is the crater of a sunken volcano, but you and I cling to the legend of Kronos.) In that golden age of childhood, you learned the story of the burning mountain, Etna, and went wandering through the purple fields of Sicily with Demeter, seeking her lost daughter, Persephone. You raced with 전주오피 Ulysses and his men from the angry Cyclops down to that lovely shore, put out to sea with them, and felt the boat whirled from its course and twisted like a leaf in the whirlpool current of Charybdis. When{ix} you left the nursery for the schoolroom, you learned the names of the succeeding nations that have ruled Sicily, every one of whom has left some enduring trace of their presence. As you cross from the mainland of Italy to this Sicily, you can, if you will use your memory and imagination, see in fancy the hosts who have crossed before you, eager, as you are, to make this jewel of the south their own.